Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (May 31, 1898 – December 24, 1993) was a minister and author and was famous for his book The Power of Positive Thinking which kicked off the whole pop-psychology movement which espoused the theory of "positive thinking" as an answer to all of life’s problems.  There is actually a basis to positive thinking in Scripture, but it is not found in humanistic thinking that looks inward for answers in the human heart, mind, and soul.  And, although, there is nothing wrong in a positive attitude, it is this reliance on our human power that was behind the strongest criticism of Peale’s writing and philosophy.

From Wikipedia:  “Episcopal theologian (later bishop) John M. Krumm criticized Peale and the "heretical character" of his teaching on positive thinking. Krumm cites "the emphasis upon techniques such as the repetition of confident phrases ... or the manipulation of certain mechanical devices," which he says "gives the impression of a thoroughly depersonalized religion. Very little is said about the sovereign mind and purpose of God; much is made of the things men can say to themselves and can do to bring about their ambitions and purposes." Dr. Krumm cautions that "The predominant use of impersonal symbols for God is a serious and dangerous invitation to regard man as the center of reality and the Divine Reality as an impersonal power, the use and purpose of which is determined by the man who takes hold of it and employs it as he thinks best."

There is to be found in scripture a basis for thinking positively, but many times, we do not have it within our power to overcome our own human fears and worries, which is why we need to take them to God in prayer, laying our burdens at His feet and asking for His Help and His Power to give us the spiritual and emotional strength to do what we cannot do in our own power.  So what gives the positive thinking its power is not what’s found in our heart, mind, and strength, but rather in the Heart, Mind, and Strength of God. 

Part of positive thinking is controlling our thoughts and refusing to allow our thoughts to be taken captive by Satan, as he will whip up our fears and worries into bigger fears and worries until we are captive and helpless.  We do have some choice in which thoughts we dwell on, and part of thinking right requires our exercise of our will.  The more we exercise our will in the effort to think about the right things, the stronger it will get day by day, especially as it is infused with God’s Spiritual Power from daily meditation on Scripture and time in prayer. 

More on this tomorrow.  I pray that God will give you the power to keep a positive attitude and that you will remember to give over all your negative thoughts, worries, and fears to Him, so that your heart can be filled with His Joy and Peace.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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